Mercedes has admitted that McLaren now has the faster Formula 1 car between the two following the Japanese Grand Prix.
After qualifying in second and third, McLaren scored a double podium at Suzuka with Lando Norris leading home rookie teammate Oscar Piastri.
McLaren introduced an upgrade in Singapore last week, which was described as its biggest introduction of new parts since Austria.
It was at the event from Spielberg where McLaren took a major step forward as it commenced the current campaign on the back foot.
It has since scored five podiums, four of which have come at the hands of Norris.
Mercedes is currently attempting to hold onto second place in the Constructors’ Championship but sits just 30 points in front of Ferrari as McLaren continues to reel in Aston Martin for fourth following its poor start to the campaign.
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Mercedes' McLaren admission
However, speaking to media including RacingNews365, Mercedes believes that McLaren, who is fifth in the standings, now has a faster car than the Brackley-based squad.
"You don't get to a point in a race where you really have a switch of thinking,” trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said when asked when Mercedes realised it couldn’t fight McLaren.
“But we didn't have a great start. Lewis [Hamilton] was pushed wide, he dropped a position to [Fernando] Alonso.
“McLaren was a quicker car [in the race]. When your opposition's ahead of you with a buffer car in between you, you can't really interact with them.
“Why is McLaren quick? Well, I think the update they did in Singapore didn't look massive there.
"That's all low-speed corners. Here it's all high-speed. And you know, that's what we saw them get very good at when they did the previous update in Austria.
“So right now they've just got a better car.”